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Big Blueprint: UK puts finishing touches on perfect conference record

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Terrence Jones and Anthony Davis combined for 41 points, 16 rebounds and nine blocks in a win over Florida. (Victoria Graff Photography) Terrence Jones and Anthony Davis combined for 41 points, 16 rebounds and nine blocks in a win over Florida. (Victoria Graff Photography)
The Big Blueprint is back. A rapid recap of the game, the Big Blueprint looks at the nuts and bolts of the latest UK game when Cat Scratches is not in attendance. Today, we break down UK's 74-59 win over Florida to close out the regular season.

The skinny: No. 1 Kentucky (30-1, 16-0 Southeastern Conference) completed just the third perfect regular season in SEC play in 56 years with a 74-59 win over No. 16/13 Florida (22-9, 10-6 SEC) in Gainesville, Fla. Terrence Jones (19 points, four rebounds, three blocks, two steals) helped get the Wildcats off to a strong start, as UK led by as many as 16 points in the first half. The Gators rallied though, closing to within two points with 16:30 remaining, led by Patric Young (21 points, nine rebounds). UK answered the bell, holding Florida to just one field goal and four points over the final 9:04.

The difference:
3-point defense. Florida is a team that relies heavily on the trey. For the second time this season, UK effectively limited the Gators from the outside. Florida converted just 6 of 22 attempts from 3-point range, including 2 of 11 during the second half as they were trying to rally. UK was especially solid defending the Gators' perimeter players, holding Erving Walker, Bradley Beal and Kenny Boynton to just 4 for 15 from the outside. In two games, Florida is 12 for 49 (24.3 percent) from 3 against the Wildcats.

Player of the game: Anthony Davis. Jones was the driving force in UK's big early lead, but it was Davis who dominated in the second half. Davis finished with 22 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks, tallying 17 points, seven rebounds and four blocks after halftime. The player-of-the-year candidate was his usual terrorizing self on the defensive end and demonstrated his ever-growing offensive game. He hit a 3-pointer, had a beautiful left-handed hook and had one of his more impressive end-to-end sequences of the season with just over a minute left. He started things by blocking a Beal shot and deftly corralling the rebound. Seeing space ahead, he dribbled past half-court and threw ahead to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who missed a running layup. In perfect position, Davis grabbed the offensive rebound and dunked all in one motion for the exclamation point in UK's 22nd-consecutive win.

Turning point:
With 16:30 remaining, Young got behind the UK defense on a fast break for an uncontested dunk to cut the UK lead to 46-44. John Calipari called timeout and inserted Darius Miller for the ensuing possession. Miller rose for a long two-pointer over a smaller Scottie Wilbekin, drilling the shot and triggering an 8-0 run. UK would lead by no fewer than four points the rest of the game.

Key stat: UK was coldly efficient offensively on Sunday. The Wildcats committed just six turnovers and dished out 11 assists. More than that, they consistently found good looks, shooting 31 for 59 (52.5 percent) from the field. Even when they did miss, the Cats worked tirelessly on the offensive glass, grabbing 11 rebounds and scoring 16 second-chance points.

Unsung hero(es): Kidd-Gilchrist. The freshman swingman scored just seven points and attempted seven field goals, but he made his impact felt. He added eight rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals while playing his trademark intense defense. MKG often drew the assignment of guarding Beal, holding the dynamic guard to just five points on 1-for-10 shooting.

He said what? "I've had a couple other teams do it, so we weren't worried about it. I told the team, 'It's a nice thing. It doesn't happen that often, but that's not why we're playing.'" - Calipari on going unbeaten in SEC play

"If Terrence Jones plays that way for us, we're not just good; we're real good." - Calipari

"We tried to switch everything, just so you have high hands on them all the time. For us, what we try to get teams to do is to beat us by coming to us." - Calipari on defending Florida's 3-point shooters

"He may be growing too by the way. He looks longer." - Calipari on Davis

"I want to thank ESPN. They've done one of the greatest services for my program by having that advertisement that keeps showing Indiana beating us. Every time my team watches TV and on ESPN, they see it they just shake their head and it makes them mad." - Calipari on Christian Watford's buzzer beater to beat UK

"We get mad every time. We see that being shown like a hundred times on ESPN a day. It makes us mad, just the way we lost. We never want to have that feeling again." - Davis on seeing the replay of the buzzer beater

What this one means:
UK made history on a couple fronts with this victory. Not only did the Cats sweep through the SEC regular season for just the third time in over a half-century, but they also set a new record for regular-season wins at UK with 30. Just as importantly, the win puts Kentucky a step closer to solidifying the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats will look to lock it down at next week's SEC Tournament. They will open their run in the conference tourney on Friday at 1 p.m. against the winner of LSU and Arkansas.

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